Slowly but surely, Zach Miller getting more involved
By Brady Henderson
Those hoping the Seahawks would make Zach Miller a bigger part of their passing offense are getting their wish – slowly but surely.
Miller’s lack of production in the passing game last season was the subject of criticism, both from those who felt the tight end was underperforming after signing a massive contract and from those who – more accurately – were wondering why he was being used primarily as a blocker and rarely as a pass catcher.
Tight end Zach Miller has been targeted 14 times during the Seahawks’ last three games after being thrown to 16 times over the first six games of the season. (AP)
Miller signed a five-year, $34 million contract with the Seahawks before last season. He then caught 25 passes for 233 yards, both career lows by a wide margin. He was targeted 44 times, according to ESPN.com. That was also a career low.
Through 10 games this season, Miller has either topped or is near those totals. He has 23 catches on 32 targets for 285 yards. He also has a touchdown reception after being held out of the end zone last season.
“[I’m] definitely getting a lot more chances, a lot more plays where I’m the focus and getting the ball and that kind of thing,” Miller told “Bob and Groz” on Monday. “It’s nice because I think that helps our offense, and I think it’s just a progression and it keeps just improving.”
Miller’s totals through 10 games put him on pace for 37 catches, 51 targets and 456 yards. Those certainly aren’t Pro Bowl numbers, but they represent notable improvement. Better quarterback play has been one factor. More stability on the offensive line has also helped as it’s allowed Miller to spend more time running routes and less time as an extra blocker.
Miller set season highs with five receptions on six targets in the Seahawks’ Week 10 win over the Jets. On one of those catches, he held on despite taking a big hit from cornerback Antonio Cromartie. On another, he broke two tackles to pick up a first down.
“That was a cool play, making two guys bounce off so that he could get the first down at a crucial time for us,” coach Pete Carroll said after the game. “He’s playing really good football for us. There’s nothing he doesn’t do well.”